It’s a Halloween miracle!

We did it! Again! The day before Halloween, we bought a house in Wyevale. It feels like both a trick and a treat : trick because we’ve got some minor renovating to do (argghhhh will it never end?); treat because we quite like the place.

The new place, in all its glory

Our search for this home was fraught with obstacles. The market dried up when our Elmvale house sold. Interest rates rose. We bid on another house and lost. Most of our viewings coincided with Arthur’s poop or bed times.

Arthur and I on Halloween day – right before he pooped.

As the months wore on, desperation forced us to consider all sorts of stupid options : money pits, overpriced split levels, expensive mcmansions, remote cabins, and other oddities.

When this listing appeared last week, it felt like a patch of sun in a cloudy sky. It was a balm to our weary hearts, battered by months of uncertainty and doubt.

The house is nothing fancy – just a little bungalow on a dead end street in a residential neighbourhood – but it has a layout we like, the space we need, a price we can afford, in the area we want. It ticks almost all our boxes. With a little elbow grease, we think it’ll shine like a new penny.

Before we start calling contractors for quotes, this lightweight is going to have a celebratory bowl of roasted pumpkin seeds (plus a glass of wine or two) and enjoy the prospect of a new adventure.

Happy Halloween!

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Movin’ on up

It’s true. We’re moving. We put our house on the market in early July and it just sold a to a nice couple — a bittersweet moment.

House with sold sign

Our lovely old home, sold!

Public service announcement

If you have a small child, staging and cleaning a house for viewings is not advisable. You will find vacuuming with a wriggling fifteen-pound baby in your arms exceedingly annoying. You will also seriously resent regularly dismantling and putting away exersaucers, activity mats and jolly jumpers.

Those of you not watching my Facebook feed are no doubt thinking « what the damn hell!? »

It is rather confusing. We quite like Elmvale – particularly the high quality doughnuts. We also love our pretty victorian home. But the arrival of a certain little goober has changed a few things.

A baby on the ground, surrounded by toys and smiling

Arthur is the reason we’re moving

Why we decided to move

  • We want to live closer to family and friends in Lafontaine, Perkinsfield and Midland. Our parents are going to offer part-time daycare when I return to work. Ah-mazing.
  • We’d rather move while I have “free time” (ha) to pack up and manage logistics. Mat leave for the win!
  • We’d also rather move while baby Arthur’s mobility is limited. I do not want to have to renovate/set up a home while chasing a toddler.
  • The kid is going to a French school in North Simcoe County (Elmvale is already in that catchment) so we want to ease his commute.
  • We still want a country house! Or a least a house on a quieter street with a bigger yard.

Which brings me to my next public service announcement. We need help finding a home. Do you know someone with a great house who’s thinking of selling? Are any of your elderly neighbours (with well-maintained homes) on the brink of death? Awesome! Let us know!

What we want — must haves

  • Something in Tiny Township — south of Balm Beach Road so our drive to Barrie remains bearable
  • A quiet street, low on traffic — so Arthur and Odie can roam free
  • A big yard that is either a) private b) fenced or c) ready for fencing
  • At least three bedrooms
  • Good, solid bones — we can update a kitchen or put in new floors but we don’t want to rejig walls, put in new electrical, or replace plumbing

What we want — nice to haves

  • Acreage — one or two would suffice, more would be great
  • Surrounded by trees for privacy
  • A garage
  • Two full bathrooms
  • A finished (or finishable) basement

Is that so much to ask? Probably, in this market — especially with our limited budget. But we’re putting it out to the universe anyway. Wish us luck!

Bog love

JF is enjoying summer solstice (i.e. drinking beer) in the beautiful Yukon this weekend and I’m sappy enough to admit I miss him terribly. So I thought I’d devote some cyberspace to a place we both love: Tiny Marsh.

We’ve been together nine years and marsh-goers for about six. It’s our favourite place for phone-free, brains-off time together. When we lived in Toronto, we’d often stop there to catch our breaths before wading into cottage-country traffic. These days, we visit it every two weeks or so.

Us at the marsh in 2009

Us at the marsh in 2009

Why do we love this patch of bog so much? Lots of reasons:

  1. Groomed trails
  2. No entry fee
  3. Minutes from home
  4. Fresh air – except in spring, when it reeks of hydrogen sulfide
  5. Many birds live there, some rare
  6. It’s beautiful

Though items one to four are handy, five and six are essential to any JF and Mik-friendly space.

You see, JF is a birder.  Not a birdwatcher, a birder. Because apparently, there’s a difference. For years, he’s trudged through forest, field and swamp to hear or see as wide a variety of species as he can – like a real-life Ash from Pokémon.

Personally, I think the whole thing is sweet and nerdy, just like him.  There are only two challenges with his hobby:

  • He doesn’t like to hike where he can’t add new birds to his annual “gotta see or hear ‘em all” list.
  • I find crouching over spotting scopes, peering through binoculars, and flipping through Sibley’s about as exciting as scrubbing my baseboards

Much as I aspire to JF’s level of nerddom, if I’m being honest with myself, I’m more like these two: 

Which is why the marsh’s prettiness is important. It’s filled with lovely things for me to admire and take photos of. There are shady woods, sunny fields and big wide vistas. We’re still finding new nooks and crannies.

Through the years, we’ve shared our love of Tiny Marsh with friends and family. Here are a few photos of people who have explored it with me.

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When JF gets back, I think I’ll request a boggy picnic. In the meantime, I might take a sentimental stroll down the dikes by myself.